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  1. #1

    Default Structural problems in old basement

    Okay, a little background on this. I am looking for feedback on a structural problem that I am trying to help someone (a relative) out on. Also, this is not a paying job and I haven?t been able to even get to this house to view what is going on. I need to do that shortly ? but just a few pics at this point.
    The problem: the joists are pulling out of their notches at the center beam. Significantly, the homeowner states that he has multiple screwjacks holding everything up. I told him he needs a structural engineer to design the repairs but there is no money in the till at the moment for this, so its whatever system we can up with. He is in a trade and is actually competent to do the repairs, but first he needs a strategy. Another point: the foundation has to be moving outwards (he says it is) so this will also need repairs and the framing secured to the sill as well as the center beam.

    My thinking: he needs to sister on (through-bolt) joists to the older notched joists. Securing these to the center beam is the hard part as one would need some type of fabricated hanger for this connection. This would be done on each side. The trick here would be make sure that opposing joists on each side of the beam are at the exact same level. If this is done then cut down sheets of plywood could be secured to the framing on each side of the center beam, fitted around the supports for the beam. This would ?tie? the framing on each side of the center beam to prevent movement off of the beam.
    An alternative to the plywood ? something you find in the old barns but not used so much nowadays, would be to install come-along cables, secured to the sills on each sidewall. This would (should) also prevent the sills and foundation from moving outwards (assuming that the foundation is not falling apart. I?ll have to check on that when I can get to the property). The joists still need to be secured to the center beam, in either case.

    Until further investigations tell me more, what are your thoughts on this and does anyone have a better strategy. (I need to come up with something as the plans he has for this will not work and I?m afraid he?s going to start work on this soon).

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Structural problems in old basement

    When I was reading this I was thinking comealong as well, and then some type of bracket connector on the sides of the joists. I used a Simpson deck post anchor ten or twelve years ago, and it would likely work. Probably more than you need but will give a lot of anchor power.

    https://www.fastenersplus.com/Simpso...gaAsXbEALw_wcB

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

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    Default Re: Structural problems in old basement

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernie Simpson View Post
    Another point: the foundation has to be moving outwards (he says it is)...
    If this is true, that would create the other issues.

    Foundation moving outward ... as the foundation walls AND footing bowing outward, or as in the foundation walls are tipping outward from each other (maybe with foundation walls even bowing inward half way between footing and top of wall)?

    On a level lot or sloping lot?

    Full basement or partial with crawl space?

    Many questions, no real answers

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: Structural problems in old basement

    Morning Ernie, members. Hope this post finds you and the members well and in good spirits today.

    *Note: I refer beams as girders when flanges are fastened.
    FLANGE.JPG
    The main difference between a girder and a beam is the size of the component. In general, workers in the construction industry refer to large beams as girders. ... If it is the chief horizontal support in a structure, it is a girder, not a beam. If it is one of the smaller structural supports, it is a beam.

    As to the gap between the notched floor joists and girder flanges. I would have two available hypothese to work from during an inspection.
    Girder Spreading. Floor joists deflection. AKA; Sagging joists.
    I would use tools, tape measure, digital levels and a laser beam to form an analyse.

    Ernie. You have any photos from both sides of the girder so members might provide a better hypothese?
    Looking forward to you response.
    Best regards.
    Robert

    Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.
    Call (514) 489-1887 or (514) 441-3732
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Structural problems in old basement

    Craigs basement 2 RF3.jpgCraigs basement 2 RF1.jpgCraigs basement 2 RF5.jpgCraigs basement 2 RF6.jpg

    Thanks for the feedback Robert. (I'll change my nomenclature on "beams"). I'm posting more pictures. I got up to New Hampshire to look at the basement and it is really a mess. The floor framing utilized native lumber that was excessively notched out. Not sure about the span either given the grade of the wood. The center girder (got that right!) has dropped down a bit. Joists either pulled out of notches or off ledgers. Some ledgers loosening (told homeowner these need to be secured now).
    I wish this was a buyer's house as I could just tell him/her to run. As it is, the is a relative's home that was never inspected when he brought it (got it cheap, I believe). Foundation movement present but less than I had previously thought.
    I'm thinking he should just level the girder and sister on new joist with Simpson hangers. (I wish I hadn't lost so much money this week or I'd probably spring for a Structural PE to specify the work).
    Any thoughts appreciated....


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    Default Re: Structural problems in old basement

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernie Simpson View Post
    I'm thinking he should just level the ...
    You were on the right track, but it appears someone hit the track switch and put you over to another track.

    To finish that sentence, I suggest ... house and foundation, hoping that "(got it cheap, I believe)" is cheap enough such as that he paid 'for the lot', with 'rubble on in it which needs to be removed'.

    That foundation appears to have cracked up and is in need of replacement.

    Reminds me of a comment I have used on more than one occasion: ... remove the roof covering, the roof structure, the insulation and all electrical, plumbing, and ductwork, remove the ceiling ... until you can see the blue sky above ...

    One client said "Okay, do you think I can live here will the work is done?" Really? I started thinking - what part of "until you can see the blue sky above" do you not understand?

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: Structural problems in old basement

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    That foundation appears to have cracked up and is in need of replacement.
    Jerry, Ernie, members. Hope this post finds you all well.

    This Foundation is referred to as an; 'Ancestral Random Rubble Stone Foundation' with mortar lime wash.
    Likely an older turn of the century structural masonry building before steel beams and columns supports took over.

    Older masons can repair random rubble. It's all about horizontal level. Columns can be masonry.
    The idea is to jack up the house to allow foundation repairs, footings for columns and columns to be installed. Exciting project.

    Concerte is poor man's choice to labor.
    Just my 2 cents.

    Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.
    Call (514) 489-1887 or (514) 441-3732
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    Default Re: Structural problems in old basement

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernie Simpson View Post
    Craigs basement 2 RF3.jpgCraigs basement 2 RF1.jpgCraigs basement 2 RF5.jpgCraigs basement 2 RF6.jpg

    Thanks for the feedback Robert. (I'll change my nomenclature on "beams"). I'm posting more pictures. I got up to New Hampshire to look at the basement and it is really a mess. The floor framing utilized native lumber that was excessively notched out. Not sure about the span either given the grade of the wood. The center girder (got that right!) has dropped down a bit. Joists either pulled out of notches or off ledgers. Some ledgers loosening (told homeowner these need to be secured now).
    These structures can fool you. Many times flooring is cantilevered with ><24" inch offset girders.
    Typically these homes are boxes/rooms with a midway or offset hallway support/bearing wall/s.

    *Note: Stairway flooring openings had failures due to opening only used (1) rim/band joist. Flooring slopes to stairway dependant open the cantilever below. Doubled up rim/band joist if you get the chance when everything is level.

    When jacking the house, build false bearing walls on every level prior jacking the home not to rack the structure if you go plain on doing a full refit.

    Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.
    Call (514) 489-1887 or (514) 441-3732
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    Default Re: Structural problems in old basement

    Quote Originally Posted by ROBERT YOUNG View Post
    Jerry, Ernie, members. Hope this post finds you all well.

    This Foundation is referred to as an; 'Ancestral Random Rubble Stone Foundation' with mortar lime wash.
    Robert, that foundation type is "Rubble Stone" ... which identifies the type of "rubble".

    I did not feel a need to point out that foundation was "rubble stone" as, well, that was obvious.

    Adding flowering descriptive words to "rubble stone" only shows one's lack of understanding what those words mean.

    Rubble stone foundations are, by their name ("rubble") "random".

    Other types of stone foundations are not "rubble", such as "cut-stone" foundations (the stone is "cut" and fit together in a more precise manner).

    Concerte is poor man's choice to labor.
    Concrete is the smart man's choice. One recognizes and understands the advantages of reinforced concrete ... and that a rubble stone foundation which has not yet failed as NOT "passed the test of time" as "time" is not a test which one "passes", "time" is a test that, at best, one can surmise that "(whatever) has not FAILED YET".

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: Structural problems in old basement

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Robert, that foundation type is "Rubble Stone" ... which identifies the type of "rubble".
    I did not feel a need to point out that foundation was "rubble stone" as, well, that was obvious.
    Basic guide to stone foundations
    Random Rubble is but one type of rubble stone foundation. Many older homes in central Montreal are random rubble interior with split face ashlar exteriors.

    Concrete? Of all masonry products (brick, concrete, block, man-made products, etc.) natural stone is by far the most durable.

    Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.
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    Default Re: Structural problems in old basement

    Quote Originally Posted by ROBERT YOUNG View Post
    Concrete? Of all masonry products (brick, concrete, block, man-made products, etc.) natural stone is by far the most durable.
    "Durable" does not equate to "stable".

    Would you rather have a "durable" pile of stone rubble under your house, or a stable reinforced concrete foundation under your house?

    Sure, the "durable" stone might last 4,000 years ... but the house will not ... and neither will the stacked pile of stone rubble.

    The concrete might only last a few hundred years ... and again, the house will not ... but the concrete will outlast the house, and be stable while doing so.

    Yes, BOTH require doing the work correctly - shoddy concrete work does not last a few hundred years ... and a shoddy stone rubble wall will become a pile of stone rubble ... with a pile of other rubble on top of it ... in due time too.

    Those "good old days" you seem to long for were only "good" because they were better than the older days before them, and not as good as the "good old days" which come later.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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    Default Re: Structural problems in old basement

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    "Durable" does not equate to "stable".

    Would you rather have a "durable" pile of stone rubble under your house, or a stable reinforced concrete foundation under your house?

    Those "good old days" you seem to long for were only "good" because they were better than the older days before them, and not as good as the "good old days" which come later.
    1: Durability means maintenance. Soil reinforces stability.
    As long as surrounding soil is backfill, slope remains posative, plantings, shrubs or bushes have not encroached the foundation over time and a perimeter drainage field is functioning normally, durability and stability are to a point, moot.

    2: Past "good old days" have been replaced with present "good old days" mindest unfortunately.
    The cost to produce/erect a stone foundation would double as compared to reinforced air entrained concrete I think.

    Personally, I miss the good old days when building from the ground up started with mentoring from the ground up.

    Keep safe friend.
    Best regards.
    Robert Young

    Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.
    Call (514) 489-1887 or (514) 441-3732
    Our Motto; Putting information where you need it most, "In your hands.”

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    Default Re: Structural problems in old basement

    Quote Originally Posted by ROBERT YOUNG View Post
    1: Durability means maintenance. Soil reinforces stability.
    As long as surrounding soil is backfill, slope remains posative, plantings, shrubs or bushes have not encroached the foundation over time and a perimeter drainage field is functioning normally, durability and stability are to a point, moot.
    I guess you haven't heard of lateral loads or uplift loads - I now understand the limitations of your thinking.

    Your wish for the good old days construction further confirms my above thinking.

    While I acknowledge that some parts of the construction of the good old days was good (the craftsmanship and skill of the better workers, I also acknowledge that not all workers were those craftsmen), lack of engineering knowledge allows those buildings to not be as stable during natural events.

    And I acknowledge that craftsmanship rarely exists in construction in this day, and I also acknowledge that engineering tiday allows for buildings to be constructed ... and tied down ... to better resist natural events.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  14. #14

    Default Re: Structural problems in old basement

    Interesting to hear you go back and forth, Jerry and Robert. In terms of what is needed, I hope the homeowner can pull off what he is trying to do. I'm going to advice just living the GIRDER, then sistering and securing connections with joist hangers. The foundation, while not ideal (it may not be here in 200 years), isn't the immediate problem - but it will need work too. He can't walk away and own a home again. I am better at telling people what is wrong than actually doing a serious structural job at this point in my life. If the corronavirus kills the economy and I have time maybe I'll try to assist in the project. Never too old to try something new. (That's a lie: I am too old but I won't admit it!).

    - - - Updated - - -

    That's "leveling" not "living".


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